SAVANNAH CAT CARE

 

Bringing Home Your Savannah Kitten


At Wild Tafari, we believe in giving our Savannah kittens loving human interaction early on in their lives while they are still nursing their mothers, giving kittens the best of both worlds, which in addition, also allows the kittens to learn essential behaviors and proper hygiene from their mothers. This initial socialization, handling, and positive human contact from a very young age, shapes each of our Savannahs into well-rounded kittens that are ready to move on to their new homes with their new families. Once each kitten has begun their new life, it is up to you as their new adoptive parents to maintain the positive interaction with people and socialization we have begun in our home and form a relationship with your kitten that will further shape their lifetime behaviors.


From the time you adopt your Savannah kitten, to the time your new baby comes home can feel like a lifetime, however, by spending the time preparing your home for your kitten’s arrival will allow you to help make your kitten’s transition as smooth as possible. To help you transition your Savannah kitten from our home to yours, which is a completely new, unfamiliar environment, you will find tips and instructions below to help ease the conversion.


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Preparing for Arrival and Kittenproofing


Because your new Savannah kitten will be coming home to a new environment that has never before been seen, to keep your kitten from being overwhelmed we recommend that you prepare a small room initially where your kitten cannot hide under anything, such as a bathroom. Your kittens’ food, water, and litter box, as well as other recommend essentials listed further below, should be readily accessible. Once your kitten becomes comfortable in their small room, you can slowly allow him or her to access more of your home, such as the master bedroom off of your kitten’s bathroom. As you allow your Savannah kitten to have full run of your home, keeping extra litter boxes throughout is recommended to prevent any accidents for the first couple of months.


Your home should be kittenproofed for your Savannah kittens’ arrival much as it would be for a human child in the crawling stage of life. Savannahs are an inquisitive, high energy hybrid cat that love to play and household or personal items can often be mistaken for toys. With that being said, it is imperative to provide a variety of stimulation for your Savannah kitten by offering appropriate toys and/or playmates, which discourages unwanted behavior when allowing ample daily playtime.



Kittenproofing Tips


  1. Hide any plastic bags, including grocery bags, that are chewable and can easily cause intestinal blockage. Remove small objects such as chewable rubber toys, plastic wrap, ribbons, string, small plastic objects, etc. Check toys on a regular basis for wear and breakage.

  2. Heavy objects, vases, and other valuable belongings should be removed or placed in an area where your Savannah kitten will not be injured and your possessions will be secure.

  3. Be sure to keep toilet lids closed and do not allow your kitten near a bathtub or sink filled with water. A kitten could easily be over his or her head in a quick leap.

  4. When using rocking chairs or loungers, care should be taken so as to not hurt your kitten, and never allow your kitten near a hot stove surface.

  5. All small crawl spaces should be blocked off, including floor vents. Your curious kitten will quickly find these spaces and want to explore, possibly getting caught where you may not be able to reach them.

  6. Carefully open and close all doors, including refrigerators, freezers, washers and dryers, being mindful at all times of where your kitten is in your home.

  7. Lock up medications, cleaning products, and any poisons so that they cannot be ingested.

  8. Supervise other pets, such as dogs, during the introduction period and never allow unsupervised playtime until you are 100% comfortable and secure in their relationship and that no harm will come to your Savannah, preferably after your kitten has become much older.


Electrical Cords & Dangerous Plants


Savannah kittens, like their wild ancestor the African Serval, love to chew. They are usually attracted to cords for a while once  they begin to explore the house. This is typically a phase that kittens go through while teething, and can quickly be discouraged by wiping or spraying “Bitter Apple” or vinegar on the cords. It may be necessary to reapply more than once weekly. In the event your kitten bites through a wire, you should know where your circuit breaker box is located to immediately cut the power. If this happens, do not touch the kitten or try to unplug the wire until the power is cut, once this has been done rush your kitten to the nearest emergency veterinarian clinic.


One of the most common household hazard are poisonous plants. Some curious Savannah kittens look to plants as if they are toys. Be sure that your plants are non-toxic and do not allow your kitten to chew on your plants. Some common plants are african violets, azaleas, orleander, lilies, and many more. If in doubt, remove all plants from the room(s) that your kitten will be accessing in your home.


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Savannah Kitten Essentials


  1. A Litter Box

  2. Non-Clumping Litter

  3. Food and Water Bowls

  4. Kitten Food as Recommended

  5. Appropriate Toys

  6. Comfortable Bed and Blanket

  7. Scratching Posts


Litter Box Habits and Litter


Our Savannah kittens learn good hygiene habits from their mothers at a young age, and once this skill is learned, kittens are quite consistent in maintaining good litter box hygiene. At Wild Tafari, our kittens are fully litter box trained before they are sent home to their new families. We, along with cat experts, recommend that you have at least one litter box per cat, including one extra. By placing several small litter boxes around your home until your kitten becomes familiar with the layout his or herself, you minimize any accidents from happening.


We prefer to use a pelleted pine litter, Feline Pine, which can be purchased at your local pet store. It has a very different scent and texture than clay litter. We prefer this ourselves as there is very little to no odor, unlike most clay litters on the market. Once your Savannah kitten arrives home, have his or her little box prepared with the same litter your kitten has been used to for the first several weeks of their life. If you choose to change to a non-clumping clay litter, do so gradually after your kitten has been home for at least a week, when you can then gradually mix the pelleted litter with your choice of clay litter to transition your kitten.



Savannah Kitten Diet


When your kitten arrives home, you should be feeding your Savannah kitten in accordance with the diet that they have been raised upon and the foods that they are used to. If you decide to change their food, you should NEVER change your kittens’ diet suddenly, but rather very gradually transition your Savannah kitten to his or her new food over the course of at least a couple of weeks.


At Wild Tafari, we wean our kittens onto a boiled, ground chicken diet, which is supplemented with vitamins and minerals. Once our Savannahs are eating their chicken well, we introduce Innova Evo wet food, which is mixed into their chicken increasingly until the kittens are eating Innova Evo wet food exclusively. At the time we introduce the kittens’ Innova Evo wet food, they are also given access to Royal Canin Kitten formula dry food that they can also free feed at any time.


Upon bringing your Savannah kitten home, we recommend continuing to give Innova Evo wet food to your kitten twice a day for several weeks, or months, after they arrive to your home and also offering Royal Canin Kitten formula dry food at all times. Some kittens eating more dry than others at different stages in their growth. When your Savannah kitten first arrives home, they will usually eat a quarter of a can of food per feeding. If they devour it within a couple of minutes, you can offer your kitten more. As they grow, increase their portions at each meal. If you plan to change to another brand of high quality wet food, it is imperative that you do so gradually, mixing it with the Innova Evo at an increasing rate to allow for a smoother transition for your kitten. Also, if you plan to change your Savannah kittens’ dry food, be sure that it is a high quality dry food that is high in protein and has a source of protein as the main ingredient and not corn or another grain as a main ingredient.


Our adult Savannah cats are fed Taste of the Wild Canyon River formula with Trout and Smoked Salmon dry food. It is a grain-free formula supplemented with fruits and vegetables, providing natural antioxidants to support a healthy immune system and overall good health. It provides a minimum of 32% protein with the main ingredient being trout. Our Savannahs devour it! It can be purchased at select pet stores as well as Tractor Supply stores.



Savannah Appropriate Toys


You might be surprised at how quickly a toy will meet its demise under the wrath of a playful Savannah kitten! Savannah cats and kittens are very active and playful. As Savannah kittens love to chew, they can be very destructive to their toys and should be given appropriate toys to chew on. There are two types of toys to purchase for your kitten. The first would be interactive toys that you can use with your kitten such as feather teaser toys, though they should never be left alone with your Savannah for safety reasons. The second type of toys that should be purchased are toys that can safely be given to your kitten to play with on his or her own.



Toys that are Safe for Your Savannah Kitten


  1. Paper bags, crumpled paper, cardboard boxes

  2. Tennis balls (small with bells or an inside rattle are a favorite)

  3. Stuffed animals sturdily designed for heavy chewing dogs

  4. Cat teaser toys with feathers (supervision required)

  5. Nyla Bone, dupont nylon products (cannot be chewed or ingested)


Toys to Avoid Giving Your Savannah Kitten


  1. String, cords or ribbon

  2. Small foam balls

  3. Foil

  4. Stuffed toys with pieces easily pulled or chewed off such as eyes or a nose

  5. Feathered toys should be kept for supervised play only

                    REMEMBER TO SUPERVISE YOUR KITTEN AT ALL TIMES IF IN DOUBT ABOUT A TOYS’ SAFETY!



Bedding for Your Savannah Kitten


Your kitten has been used to being with his or her siblings from birth, constantly having companions to play, eat and sleep with at all times. When you bring your Savannah kitten home, be sure to have a plush, cozy bed, with a soft blanket as well if you prefer, that your kitten can snuggle into. After all, they have been used to staying nice and toasty next to their siblings, and this will help your Savannah kitten to keep warm and with their transition to being in a new home. Of course, better than this would be having a second Savannah kitten to keep one another company!



Scratching Post Placement


In general, cats love to scratch. It helps to remove the outer part of their nails, and also to stretch their spine and muscles. Sisal rope posts tend to be a favorite to Savannahs and also gives your kitten an alternative to scratching on a carpeted cat post which looks very similar to a carpeted floor in a home. Savannah kittens like to stretch and scratch after napping and eating, therefore we recommend placing their scratching posts a couple of feed from where their bed lies and/or where their food bowls are.


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Your Savannah Kitten’s Arrival


When your kitten arrives, you will want to take him or her to the room you have prepared and allow your kitten to come out of their pet carrier on their own. Some kittens will immediately come out once the door is opened, while others are initially a tad more shy and may require a bit of coaxing. A feather teaser toy is a great way to lure your kitten out of their carrier to begin exploring their new room. You will want to gently place your Savannah kitten into the litter box, and also show your kitten the location of their food and water bowls, offering your kitten some wet food as well.